Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #149
CE Offered: BACB
Compass Behavioral: Choose Your Own Path
Saturday, May 25, 2024
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 113 A
Area: AUT/CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Michelle Oset (Easterseals Hawaii)
CE Instructor: Viridiana Sanchez, M.A.
Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has marked challenges in understanding and using social skills and pragmatic communication. This can lead to an autistic individual being isolated or ostracized from their peers, which can also prevent them from accessing equal opportunities in the community. Most treatment types focus on the individual adapting to fit in with their peers rather than focusing on the individual themselves. As healthcare providers, Easterseals Northern California and Easterseals Hawaii wanted to meet the needs of the individual and provide ways for them to amplify their voices in the community. Compass-behavioral (Compass-B) is a manualized program based on the foundational principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). It includes eight different modules that an individual can choose from, whether they want to work on advocating for themselves, learning perspective taking skills, or socializing with others. This presentation will review the research emphasizing the importance of focusing on the individual and allowing them to choose their own path. It will also provide a general overview of the Compass-B model and how an individual can access this treatment option.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, Compass-Behavioral
Target Audience:

Audience should have a basic understanding of applied behavior analysis principles and 1-2 years experience working with adolescents and adults ages 12 and up.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify the importance of executive functioning skills as it relates to the intellectual and developmental disabilities; (2) Identify what Compass-Behavioral is; (3) Identify how Compass-Behavioral can be applied.
Executive Functioning and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Review of Literature
KALINA HATZELL (Easterseals Hawai’i and Northern California)
Abstract: Research on executive functioning in adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) reveals a diverse landscape. These individuals may exhibit varied developmental trajectories and experience challenges in the areas of planning, organization, emotion regulation, social acumen, and goal attainment. While some may face adversity in multiple areas, others may experience difficulty in just one or two. The transition to adulthood is a crucial period for executive functioning because it marks a significant shift in an individual’s life, such as increased independence and responsibility in education, employment, and daily living. As such, improving executive functioning is crucial for enhancing overall quality of life and independence for those with developmental disabilities. This presentation provides an overview of the research demonstrating the significance of executive functioning skills on an individual’s autonomy and wellbeing. Additionally, it provides an overview of contemporary behavioral and cognitive-behavioral interventions, emphasizing their role in empowering individuals to make autonomous decisions regarding their treatment approaches.
Compass-Behavioral: Choose Your Own Path
TARYN STINE (Easterseals Northern California)
Abstract: For autistic youth receiving behavioral services, there is no one size fits all for individual support needs. Individuals who do not require the level of support provided in typical service provisions frequently find themselves at a crossroad where the direction they take is determined by caregivers and stakeholders rather than autonomous choice. Compass-behavioral (Compass-B) is a manualized behavioral intervention program based on the foundational principles Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that has set out to create a new path built on the individuals' values, goals, and strengths. It includes eight different modules that an individual can choose to work through with a Compass-B coach providing individualized guidance and support throughout the process. In this presentation, we will complete an overview of the Compass-B model, the individual demographic prerequisite requirements for participation in Compass-B, and the components covered that create a program that allows autistic youth to choose their own path.

Compass-Behavioral: Practical Application and Results

IAN COOK (Catalight Research Institute)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder qualified by three levels of support. Level 1 is qualitatively described as requiring support and is commensurate with DSM-IV criteria of Aspergers syndrome which was subsumed into the ASD diagnosis in the 2013 version of the DSM. People with Level 1 ASD typically do not have a cooccurring intellectual disability but do have difficulty with social pragmatic communication. Difficulties within this subset of the ASD population may not be generalizable to other Levels of the ASD spectrum. For this reason, we set out to understand if a manualized approach to helping autistic youth and adults navigate common social difficulties could be successfully implemented. Autistic youth and adults were offered Compass-Behavioral (Compass-B) as part of their behavioral health treatment. Paired-samples t-tests were used to determine whether there was a statistically significant mean difference between the pre and post test scores for each module as well as individual wellbeing. Overall, participants had a mean improvement from time one to time two on wellbeing as well as for each module. Furthermore, those who received the Self-Advocacy module experienced a significant improvement in overall self-advocacy skills and understanding. The results demonstrate a manualized approach to applied behavior analysis when working with autistic youth on social pragmatic and executive functioning skills is promising.




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